Former EXODUS Singer Says HATRIOT Is His ‘Apology To The Fans’

Metal Hangar 18 recently conducted an interview with former EXODUS and current HATRIOT vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Metal Hangar 18: Do you work on material for an album and when we can expect it? Label? Any upcoming tour?

Zetro: Oh yes, HATRIOT is always working on new material. In fact, we haven’t been playing a lot of shows lately because we have been so busy writing and revising our material for the album. We have a full record written and are shopping for a good label now. There are two large metal labels that have made offers, so we hope to decide who we are going with, and get started recording the album sometime in the late summer. As soon as we sign the deal, I will be putting out a press release with all the information. I don’t want to say who the label is yet. I don’t want to jinx anything. Part of what I expect the label to do is get us on the road, so yes, there will definitely be a tour to support the record. It would be easy to capitalize on the EXODUS name and just throw something out there, but we are not going to do that. We are going to have our shit together and put out a really solid album, and definitely tour to support it.

Metal Hangar 18: Don’t you think you’re a bit late with the new project, because in the past few years we see the old school thrash is coming back and there are already leaders with released albums and stuff?

Zetro: Not at all. I’m not playing the new wave of thrash, nor am I interested in being a part of the new wave of thrash. I’m playing the same style of thrash that I helped invent close to 30 years ago. My name is solidified in the business, so I don’t think it will be an issue. I helped create thrash metal and people associate my name with thrash. I feel that HATRIOT is the next natural step from the “Tempo Of The Damned” record that I did with EXODUS. I am in the history books as being part of old-school thrash, so I don’t feel like this is starting over. I feel that it is just the next page in the book. If it was a new band that didn’t have anybody in the group with notoriety then I could maybe see it, but not with HATRIOT.

Metal Hangar 18: Is there going to be some kind of competition EXODUS vs. HATRIOT?

Zetro: I would never allow that. I think the fans get to enjoy two great bands now, instead of just one band. I know there are a lot of people that say they want me back in EXODUS, but you know, Rob [Dukes, current EXODUS frontman] does a great job and they keep chugging right along. They are doing great with the current lineup and I am very happy for them. When the book is written on EXODUS, my name will be in there and I am great with that. Right now I just want the fans to check out HATRIOT with an open mind. There are a lot of elements of EXODUS and TESTAMENT in the music, so I feel that the fans will take to it. There is no rivalry whatsoever. Maybe in the ’80s when we were all battling for the number one spot, but not now. Now we are just happy to see each other, and happy that we are all still able to do music on this level.

Metal Hangar 18: How do you see the current thrash scene, as a person who’s on the thrash scene from its “birth?” What has changed through the years? Why is all that interest on this genre again?

Zetro: Well, the biggest change is with the technology that is available now. The Internet is such a double-edged sword with music. On the positive side, you can reach fans around the globe with the click of a button. The downside is there is an overabundance of media now so people don’t really absorb music like they used to. There is no mystique to it now. Used to you had to go to the show to see a band. Now you just type their name into YouTube and watch from your house. There used to be shows every night in the Bay Area back in the day. Now there are a lot less clubs and only weekend shows. I think there is a new interest in thrash because it came and went so fast initially. It was born in the mid-’80s and was gone by 1991 when grunge hit the scene. I think the old-school bands still have something to say.

Metal Hangar 18: How do you take the the “Big Four” as a title? Are they really the biggest four in thrash?

Zetro: No. I think TESTAMENT are just as big as ANTHRAX are. That’s a hard one. I like the concept of the “Big Four,” and the reason I do is it puts thrash on a big stage. I am glad that METALLICA recognizes the other three bands, even though these groups are nowhere near as successful as METALLICA. It is a double-edged sword for me. Do I think they all belong there? Probably three out of the four. What is the definition of “big?” Are they talking record sales? If you are talking innovators, then EXODUS should be in there. If you are looking at the names that have done well in thrash metal and the bands who have carried it on that level, then yes, it is these four bands. I still think TESTAMENT is as big as ANTHRAX, and it’s not just because they are my boys and I have a history there. Those guys work constantly at their craft, and their shows are always packed. But, yes, I am in support of the “Big Four.” That concert has definitely helped thrash metal.

Metal Hangar 18: Is there anything about your second time leaving EXODUS that the fans must know?

Zetro: It is all my fault. I left. It was none of their faults. I take full blame. I was in a different mindset at that point. Everybody comes up to me and expresses their opinions of how they want me back in the band or how they dislike the new singer. I think Rob Dukes has done a fine job. He’s not even new anymore. He’s been in the band over seven years now, and those are big shoes to fill — me and [Paul] Baloff — so let’s move on. So the fans need to know that it was my fault. That is part of what HATRIOT is all about. It is my apology to the fans. Here is my new thrash band for you all to enjoy. I am back and my mind is full-on. I can’t be in EXODUS right now because they have a full lineup that is ticking like a machine, so I am going to give you another group of my own… and kick your ass!

Read the entire interview from Metal Hangar 18.